Populism

Political knowledge and populist attitudes influence voter preferences for government formation

Political knowledge and populist attitudes influence voter preferences for government formation

Government formation in multiparty systems requires election losers to concede victory to the winners and, more often than not, winners to compromise to form a coalition government. Why will some voters concede victory to the winning party but others won’t? And what influences their openness to other parties during coalition talks? Looking at evidence from Austria, a multiparty system at the heart of Europe, Carolina Plescia and Jakob-Moritz Eberl find that, even after controlling for party preferences and ideology, political knowledge and populist attitudes are essential in explaining voters’ willingness or unwillingness to accept these fundamental prerequisites of coalition bargaining and political compromise.

Democratic decay: the threat with a thousand names

Democratic decay: the threat with a thousand names

States across the globe are facing increasing political and social threats that are eroding the quality of their democratic systems. In response, academics, policy-makers and politicians have adopted a plethora of terms that attempt to describe this process of democratic decay. Tom Gerald Daly argues that, while it is impossible to impose uniform terminology, if we wish to confront these challenges to liberal democracy, more work needs to be done to map the academic landscape, including greater cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Book Review | Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems edited by Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove

Book Review | Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems edited by Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove

In Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems, editors Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove bring together contributors to help understand the impact of populism upon different party systems across Europe. This is not only an important contribution to scholarship on populism, writes Toygar Sinan Baykan, but also a highly illustrative, up-to-date introduction to the contemporary politics of many European countries. 

The slow death of Hungarian popular sovereignty

The slow death of Hungarian popular sovereignty

Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is often accused of promoting a form of ‘illiberal democracy’, where governance is rooted in the popular support of a majority of the country’s citizens, but without a strong guarantee of minority rights and the rule of law. Lise Esther Herman argues that this criticism, which has been put forward by many of Orbán’s opponents, overlooks that it is not only liberal principles that are being trampled on in Hungary, but also the notion of popular sovereignty itself.

The Italian populist government is voluntarily heading towards the next political crisis (and it may have the upper hand)

The Italian populist government is voluntarily heading towards the next political crisis (and it may have the upper hand)

It is often assumed that once ‘populist’ parties sting (achieve a political breakthrough), they are likely to wither away and die. Valerio Alfonso Bruno and James F. Downes argue that this is not happening in Italy. They outline how its populist government, led by the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League (Lega), may be ‘strategically’ leading the country into another political crisis that will enable them to retain the upper hand in Italian politics.

Radical right success and mainstream parties’ anti-immigrant policy shifts

Radical right success and mainstream parties’ anti-immigrant policy shifts

Radical right parties have seen increasing electoral success throughout Europe. What does this imply for parties and party systems? Do established mainstream parties adjust their policy positions in response to successful radical right parties? If yes, is this ‘contagious effect’ restricted to specific party families or is this an overall trend within European politics? Tarik Abou-Chadi and Werner Krause investigate these questions and find that mainstream parties adjust their policy strategies when confronted with a successful radical right challenger and shift toward more anti-immigrant positions. Using a novel research design, they can demonstrate that these shifts are not just a response to changing public opinion but can be causally attributed to the success of the radical right.

Does democratic discontent foster support for challenger parties?

Does democratic discontent foster support for challenger parties?

Established parties across Europe are being challenged by the growth in new parties on the left and right. To assess the extent to which support for challenger parties is a result of dissatisfaction with existing democratic practices, Enrique Hernández has developed a model to distinguish different forms of democratic discontent. He finds that the specific focus of a voter’s democratic discontent shapes their support for these parties, and that this varies between left- and right-wing challenger parties.

Understanding populism: what role do crises play in the growth of Euroscepticism?

Understanding populism: what role do crises play in the growth of Euroscepticism?

Three distinct crises have hit the European Union in the last decade: the Great Recession, the migration crisis and Brexit. As Andrea L. P. Pirro explains, there has been a widespread assumption that populist parties with Eurosceptic profiles have been the main political beneficiaries from these crises. But there still remains much to be understood about what populists make out of such crises, as well as their impact on Euroscepticism.

Collateral damage or a direct hit? Democratic ideals in the age of Trump

Collateral damage or a direct hit? Democratic ideals in the age of Trump

How robust are American democratic institutions under Trump’s presidency? Jennifer Earl argues that, even if his actions and lies do not amount to a coordinated effort to undermine democracy, the effect will be to systematically weaken the institutions of US democracy in the long term.

Is Twitter a populist paradise?

Is Twitter a populist paradise?

A prominent social media presence is typically seen as critical to the success of populist politicians. However, Kristof Jacobs and Niels Spierings find that in the key case of the Netherlands, populist politicians were slower to adopt Twitter and engage with fewer people on it, seemingly preferring instead to stick to their own echo chamber.